Pulteney Point Lighthouse

Heritage Lighthouse

Port McNeill, British Columbia
General view of Pultenay Point Lighthouse and related buildings, 2010. (© Kraig Anderson - lighthousefriends.com)
General view
(© Kraig Anderson - lighthousefriends.com)
Address : Pulteney Point Road, Malcolm Island, Port McNeill, British Columbia

Recognition Statute: Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (S.C. 2008, c 16)
Designation Date: 2015-05-29
  • 1943 to 1943 (Construction)
  • 1905 to 1905 (Established)

Description of Historic Place

The Pulteney Point Lighthouse is a combined lighthouse and fog alarm building. Built in 1943, this square, concrete building replaced the 1905 combined lighthouse-dwelling. The lighthouse is located in a clearing on a point of land on the largely forested Malcolm Island in Queen Charlotte Strait off the coast of British Columbia. Since the lightstation was established in 1905, the lighthouse on this site has provided navigational aid to boats travelling between the Queen Charlotte Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound.
There are two related buildings on the site that contribute to the heritage character of the lighthouse: (1) the 1969 Senior Keeper’s Dwelling; and, (2) the 1969 Junior Keeper’s Dwelling.

Heritage Value

The Pulteney Point Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.

Historical values
The Pulteney Point Lighthouse is a very good example of the expansion of the system of navigation aids along the coast of British Columbia. The lighthouse was built to guide vessels safely from Queen Charlotte Sound into Queen Charlotte Strait and Broughton Strait. Established in 1905 to guide shipping vessels and fishing boats, by 1940 the majority of boats passing through the area were fishing boats. The Pulteney Point Lighthouse also provides a very good illustration of the lightkeeper’s story. The first two lightkeepers were both Finnish immigrants and social democrats. In their role of lightkeepers, they took on an isolated posting with a wide range of challenges and relatively low wages.
The Pulteney Point Lighthouse supported the fishing and boat building industries of the local community. The Finnish community that settled on Malcolm Island in 1901 initially farmed the area but soon transferred their energies to building a fishery and boat building; thus allowing the community to flourish. This focus on the sea is a theme that continues to the present and links closely to the function of the lighthouse.

Architectural values
The Pulteney Point Lighthouse is a very good example of early modernism with its square concrete lighttower rising from the corner of a flat-roofed, single-storey, square concrete fog-alarm building. The repeated square features present a continuity of form and the lack of decoration combined with the red detailing above the gallery railings and the lantern, draw the eye toward the tower.
The Pulteney Point Lighthouse is a precursor to a utilitarian style of lighthouses commonly built in the 1950s and 1960s along Canada’s coastline. It features an efficient design of a combined tower and fog alarm building. The lighthouse is in fairly good condition, a tribute to the quality of the materials used and its craftsmanship.

Community values
The Pulteney Point Lighthouse stands impressively on the shore of a wild and scenic strait in British Columbia. Surrounded by beached driftwood on a remote point and with its classic Canadian red and white colour scheme, this picturesque lighthouse reinforces the maritime heritage of its surroundings.

Related buildings
Two related buildings, as listed in section 1, contribute to the heritage character of the lighthouse.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Pulteney Point Lighthouse should be respected:
— its location on Malcolm Island in the Queen Charlotte Strait;
— its intact, as-built structural form, height, and balanced proportions based on the standard 20th century plan of a combined lighthouse and fog alarm building;
— its distinctive profile, consisting of a square concrete lighttower with an attached square concrete, one-storey, flat-roofed fog alarm building;
— its red octagonal metal lantern with red light;
— its lighttower’s square gallery and red metal railing;
— its cornices, which are simply designed and project shallowly from the tower and fog alarm building;
— its two fog horns, protruding from one elevation of the tower;
— its centrally placed door on the main elevation;
— its windows symmetrically or randomly placed;
— its traditional colour scheme, consisting of white for the tower and building, and red for the gallery railing, the lantern and its roof; and,
— its visual prominence in relation to the water and landscape.

The following character-defining elements of the related buildings should be respected: their respective built forms, profiles, and proportions; their traditional red and white exterior colour schemes; their contextual relationships to the lighthouse within an historic lightstation setting.